A new generation of witches has come together on the social media platform TikTok, calling themselves „Witchtok“. This community practices spells and rituals there. But Witchtok also provides a response to current political events, among other things. There is a lot of content like this on TikTok. The hashtag Witchtok has already been clicked on billions of times and the founders of this community are mostly young women who call themselves witches or „Wiccas“.
In short videos, they show what makes a witch and what it takes to be one. Instructions are given on how to bring one’s own energy to life. The witches on TikTok claim that the gift of magic lies dormant in every woman.
These young women, who call themselves witches or Wiccans, not only practice spells on TikTok, but also lay tarot cards. The hashtag Witchtok does not necessarily always have something to do with occult esotericism, but also contains a little bit of feminism.
In the Witchtok videos you can find everything from manifestations to spells for luck to protective potions and how to make them. Borrowed from traditional witchcraft, Witchtok has therefore quickly become a kind of wellness movement on the internet. This phenomenon of the hashtag Witchtok took off in 2019 and has now garnered more than 1.7 billion clicks.
Today’s witch image derives from the Middle Ages
In most countries around the world, the traditional witch image still exists. However, the Witchtok movement no longer has much to do with this. Even today, the concept of the witch is still largely associated with the Middle Ages. At that time, witches were blamed when random and inexplicable events happened. Therefore, they were attributed a connection to the devil and demons.
Even after the late Middle Ages, i.e. in the early modern period, other invented characteristics were added to them. For example, they were said to be able to fly through the air on sticks, brooms, chairs or similar objects. It is also said that they regularly held secret festivals at a witches‘ coven, at which they gave their souls to the devil and in return received magical powers. They would only receive these in order to harm other people. As a result, various crises, epidemics, bad harvests or even wars were attributed to the evilness of witches and the witches were held responsible for them.
However, if one takes a closer look, one finds that many of the TikTok trends or rituals turn out to be common practices. For example, a meditation with which some users want to contact their „spirit guides“. It sounds absurd at first, but it is not. A graduate psychologist from the University of Giessen explained that it can be quite normal if, in exceptional psychological situations or with a corresponding predisposition, various insights can occur in the form of intuitions or visions. The graduate psychologist is researching how altered states of consciousness can be induced and how meditation affects reality and self-perception. He also states that, from his point of view, it does not matter whether one attributes this to the subconscious, one’s own intuition or a guardian angel.
What is decisive here is the deep impression one receives from this experience. However, this does not have much to do with magic, but rather with neurobiology. The psychologist states that brain activity changes significantly during meditation. Usually, however, it takes some practice to achieve such special states. However, it is not excluded that there are people who have a certain predisposition to get into this state more easily.
Witchtok and TikTok
Witchtok originated purely online compared to other occult trends. Moreover, its foundation is based on a sense of community. There is an openness among users to encourage each other to watch out for each other, exchange spells and teach so-called baby witches (i.e. newcomers) how to become better witches.
There is also a trend called „Black Lives Matter“ protection spells. With this, people want to protect their loved ones and themselves when they go to protest. Witchtok emphasises the importance of community and connectedness. This could be seen as a direct response, so to speak, compared to the past, where things were still separate and individualistic. Now people are thinking about how we can survive as humanity (mindfulness, togetherness). In addition, Witchtok is also meant to stand as a symbol of hope and community, to enable people to think positively and come together in the midst of a global pandemic and social unrest.
WitchTok: Why is the hype so well received?
The hype is not just about a bigger magic show, but Witchtok is seen more as a kind of wellness movement for mind and body that appeals especially to young people. This is not unusual either, as people always experience emotional, physical and mental invigoration in various spiritual and esoteric practices such as Ayurveda, Tai-Chi, Bach flower therapy, Zen meditation and yoga.
For this very reason, such practices serve as a welcome distraction from the hectic pace of everyday life. Such tools are said to help people cope better with the rigours of everyday life. Moreover, spiritually inclined people are at the same time looking for a deeper meaning to life. Last but not least, they are also looking for a way to make contact with a higher reality. Most people hope to increase their courage and strength to live a more fulfilled life. It has always been the case that people have striven for a deeper meaning of life and healing. Moreover, for many it also sounds exciting to transform into a witch in order to fill the dull everyday life with additional magic and meaning. So far, in the social media age, people have become accustomed to such trends spreading at lightning speed. Whether the witch trend will mobilise the masses beyond TikTok remains to be seen.